Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Pushing Daisies: Back for Seconds

This post contains NO spoilers.


I am SO excited about the season premiere of Pushing Daisies tomorrow night (8pm on ABC). Last season we got a tiny taste of this quirky comedy featuring a dead girl, a pie maker, a PI and a ... well, an Olive Snook.

Kristin Chenoweth = LOVE.

Due to the WGA strike, the already abbreviated season was cut to a mere nine episodes. The show still managed to earn critical acclaim and a solid fan base, and looks to enjoy a triumphant return to the small screen this fall. Leaving nothing to chance, the show also launched a creative marketing campaign: the Touch of Wonder Tour. A replica of the Pie Hole, Ned's restaurant and the main set of Pushing Daisies, went from coast-to-coast serving up free pie and the latest dish on the show. Sadly, I was not able to make it up to PA or NYC for the closest tour stop. But just knowing about the tour makes me smile.

Seriously, how cute is this?

Monday, September 29, 2008

Number one in the 'hood, G.

Aqua Teen Hunger Force. If you're looking for well constructed plots, sympathetic characters and a feel-good message with strong Christian overtones ... you've got the wrong cartoon about anthropomorphic foodstuffs.

And don't let the name fool you - the characters are neither aquatic nor teenagers. Lately, they don't even fight crime. Originally conceived as a segment on Space Ghost Coast to Coast, the Aqua Teens were only ever allowed their own series because Cartoon Network was desperate for original programming. Execs fully expected the show to fail. Five seasons, a major motion picture, and a huge cult following later they must realize that the Aqua Teens are here to stay.

But I can't mention the ATHF movie without mentioning the Boston Bomb Scare. As part of a "guerrilla marketing" campaign, LED displays of Ignignokt the Mooninite (one of the show's few recurrent villains) were placed around several cities. They had been up for several weeks before someone decided they must be part of a terrorist attack. To apologize, Turner Broadcasting paid the Boston PD $2 million and the Cartoon Network general manager stepped down. Whoops.

Yes, he's flipping you the bird. Deal with it.

Setting aside their poor advertising choices, I love ATHF because it's so character-driven. Entire plot lines will be abandoned, just to fit in more dialogue. In a live-action show this would bug the crap out of me. In a cartoon (and with ATHF's hilarious writing) it's pure genius. You really get to "know" each character, and their personalities play against one another brilliantly.

Plus, the show has a deranged, incontinent, eight-foot-tall spider named MC Pee Pants. How can you go wrong?

Friday, September 26, 2008

The Mentalist - it's like deja vu all over again

Watching the series premiere of The Mentalist, I kept getting the feeling that I'd seen it somewhere before. A fake psychic, working with the police, is driven by the need to apprehend the serial killer who murdered his family. Then, it hit me - if Profiler and Psych had a bastard love child, it would be this show.

For those of you who don't remember, Profiler was the story of Dr. Samantha Waters, a detective with the Violent Crimes Task Force whose husband was murdered by a serial killer known as Jack of All Trades. Sam was a "real" psychic - when she visited the crime scene, she would get flashbacks of the murder. On the other end of the paranormal spectrum, you have Psych. Shawn Spencer pretends to be a psychic for fun and profit. He and his sidekick Gus have wacky adventures while helping out the local police department.

As you can probably guess, Psych is as light as Profiler is dark. Mentalist falls right in the middle, combining the Tortured Soul routine (in the style of Dr. Waters) with a touch of whimsy (a la Mr. Spencer). It also reminds me a bit of Dexter, which to me is the gold standard of mixing the horrific with the humorous.

Honestly, I was a bit disappointed that Mentalist wasn't something New and Exciting. Then again, how many original ideas can there possibly be for a crime procedural? Still, I remain hopeful. There is definite potential for Simon Baker, Robin Tunney (who plays the lead FBI Agent/potential love interest) and Co to elevate this show above its somewhat formulaic beginnings. So keep your wits about you, Mentalist. You're on notice.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Appointment TV - can I get a rain check?

"Come over to my house Thursday," my friend says with a smile. "It's my birthday, and there will be wine and cake. Lots of cake."

"No can do," I reply. "Ugly Betty season three premiere."

MC wants to see Betty and Daniel get together in the end.
I'd rather see rocks fall and everybody die.

Obviously, we here at TV Sluts take a certain pride in our obsession with all thing televised. But what's a blogger to do when Real Life attempts to encroach on our precious Appointment Television? There are several ways of dealing with this - obviously, there's the frank rejection (demonstrated above). A bold move, but unlikely to help you make friends and influence people. Then there's the equivocation: "I've got ... something ... going on until 9pm. Is it OK if I come a little late?" Of course this can lead to awkward questions, like "where are you going?" and "can I come, too?" Thankfully, there's another solution for those of us without a TiVo/DVR - online episodes.

Personally, I can't handle but two or three Appointment Television shows - this season, it's Heroes, Pushing Daisies, and Ugly Betty. But I also want to watch House, M.D. and The Mentalist (see Simon Baker below .... *drool*). There may be any number of shows that pique my interest without fitting my schedule. And I would invest in a DVR, except then I would be watching too much TV (if such a thing can be imagined).

You may recognize him from The Guardian or Something New.

Luckily for me, shows are getting smarter about online content. It used to be you had to wait several days for a new episode to be posted - several anxious days spent with fingers in your ears, eyes shut tight, muttering "no spoilers, no spoilers, no spoilers." Now (for some shows) you can stream video online almost as soon as the televised broadcast ends. We live in a truly wondrous age.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

The real villain is Sendhil's hairstylist

This post contains NO spoilers.


How cute was the Heroes: Villains season premiere last night? I loved the televised pre-party with the cast - the character clips were good refreshers, and the special effect stuff was pretty darn cool. They even managed to get me interested in the staggering amount of web-based content for the show. It was like the creative team got together after the disasters of last season and said, "Okay, our bad. How can we make it up to you?" The answer, as usual, was MOAR MASI!

He led the crowd in a group, "Yatta!" Adorable.

I did get a bit worried when people kept saying, "you don't need to know everything to enjoy this season." Um, hello? Isn't that what got us into this mess in the first place? I don't want to go through world-building again. You did a great job in the first season. You mucked it up in the second season, trying to reinvent everything and fix what wasn't broken. Let's just move on.

But I was pleasantly surprised (I won't bother to recap, because I'm sure the blogosphere exploded with theories approximately five seconds into the actual episode). We jumped right into the action, got to see most of the main characters, and met a few new characters to boot. Consider this fangirl back on the Heroes bandwagon.

The one disappointment - Mohinder switched from hair gel to shellac.
Seriously, WTF?

Monday, September 22, 2008

Asian Persuasion

Off the top of your head name five Asian protagonists in popular scripted TV today. There's Masi Oka and Sendhil Ramamurthy (two of the multitude of Heroes), Naveed Andrews (though he plays an Arab on Lost), Kal Penn (arguable, since he is a sort of sidekick on House, M.D.), and then... and then...


It's a sad fact that our nation's diversity is not reflected in the faces of our biggest stars. Fault does not rely solely on TV Execs (aka The Man). Many first generation Asian Americans do not consider the fine arts legitimate fields of study. Those of us in the second generation are strongly encouraged to pursue more stable (read: boring) careers. The end result is that there is a dearth of Asian actors. So I perk up whenever I see a TV show has an Asian protagonist. Which is why I was so excited by the previews for Samurai Girl.

Samurai Girl is the story of Heaven Kogo, the 19 year-old adopted daughter of a wealthy Japanese businessman. She comes to America for her arranged marriage to the son of her father's business associate. Though she is hesitant about the marriage, Heaven is reluctant to defy her beloved father. At the ceremony, right before the cup of sake touches her lips, NINJAS ATTACK!

Okay, okay. On the surface, it does sound a little exploitation-y, a little Faster Pussycat, Kill! Kill! And there's no doubt about it - Jamie Chung, who plays Heaven Kogo in the title role, is a stone cold fox. Observe:

Spoiler Alert! She's actually Korean.

But I thought they did a decent job of portraying Japanese rituals/costumes/artifacts, and not just as plot devices or to exoticize the heroine. Heaven is no mere "token." She's got a believable character arc - she starts out a bit silly and kind of a princess, but it works. She evolves as a fighter due to the usual Mystical Destiny dues ex machina, but at that point you're too far gone to care. Or rather, you care too much to go (ba dum chh!). The series is further aided by great supporting actors, creative fight scenes, and a strong plot (complete with pretty twisty twists). The writing improves dramatically from the first episode to the second. Plus, as it stands it's just a miniseries - it doesn't really have enough time to get truly annoying. You can catch the wacky Asian fun this Saturday (Sept 27th), starting at 3pm, on ABC Family.


*Yes, I realize that the time for Dude, Where's My Car? references has come and gone.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Bon Voyage!

The DVR is emptied, I've set it to record the premieres of all my favorite shows...yep, it must be time to go on vacation! That's right, I'm headed out of town for almost three full weeks, but the other tv sluts will keep you up-to-date on all the latest tv happenings. And there will definitely be plenty to talk about when I get back, what with all the shows premiering while I'm gone.

Show premieres I'm most looking forward to:

Heroes. I need my Sylar fix.

Supernatural. How are they gonna get Dean out of hell?

Pushing Daisies. One word: pie.

I'm also looking forward to see if Fringe improves, and frankly, if it even survives. The premiere ratings were less than stellar (around 9 million), and things are just going to get tougher for it time-slot wise.

Have fun, kids!

Friday, September 12, 2008

The WB is officially Back

Some of you may remember my earlier block about the beta of thewb.com. Well, its been up now for two weeks or so. When I first got the email that it was officially back, I went there right away. It's not quite what I expected but it is so nice. I won't go into all the ins-and-outs of web design. The site is easy to navigate. What really mattered to me, and probably to you, is the shows. Let's face it, the number of shows and the eps for each of those shows were on the lite side during the beta. I'm happy to see that's no longer the case here.

All my favs are here: Angel, Buffy, B5, Firefly, Friends, Smallville and Veronica. If I did not already own all these on DVD then this is where to see them. And of course The OC, Gilmore and Everwood. I had been on an OC kick this summer, waiting for Chuck to return and I get a taste of Gilmore every now-and-then so I was really excited to re-watch Everwood. And am I glad I did.

There's something quite enduring and charming abuot this show. I am almost ashamed because its almost wholesome and I'm afraid I'll never be allowed to blog here again for liking it! At the heart of the show is the father-son relationship and I've never seen it better. Greg Berlanti knows what he's doing. I didn't really know his name until this show. I was vaguely aware he was on Dawson's Creek (I now know he wrote some of my fav eps of that show), and I'm glad I know the name now (Eli Stone anyone?). So far I've only been able to see 6 or 7 of the season 1 eps. They seem to progress through, adding new eps and taking older ones away (there are some season 4 eps up, so I have yet to figure out the rhyme or reason of this site), but I heartily recommend checking it out now. I am probably more eager to get to season 2 - since right now only season 1 is available on DVD (so I could Netlfix if I really wanted).

Time to check out what else The WB has to offer. Oh, and I should get around to watching Fringe shouldn't I?

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

First Impressions: Fringe

Ok, let's just get this out of the way.

AHHHH! PACEY!!!!!! You're back!!1!!

Just needed to get that off my chest. It should not come as a surprise that I was a big Pacey fan, back when Joshua Jackson was making a splash as a loquacious teen on Dawson's Creek.

I had heard good rumblings about Fringe. After all it's from J.J. Abrams (Lost, Alias) so you know it will be brilliant and somewhat effed up. And turns out, I was right and I really like it. Although I wasn't sure at first. The first 40 minutes were a little "meh," but once the whole cast was assembled and we saw some hints of an arc for the show (what's "the pattern?"), it really took off and I got interested.

Here's the official description:

When an international flight lands at Boston's Logan Airport with no signs of life, FBI Special Agent Olivia Dunham (Anna Torv) is called in to investigate as part of an inter-agency task force. After her partner, Special Agent John Scott (Mark Valley), is nearly killed during the investigation, a desperate Olivia searches frantically for someone to help, leading her to Dr. Walter Bishop (John Noble), our generation's Einstein. There's only one catch: he's been institutionalized for the last 17 years, and the only way to question him requires pulling his estranged son Peter (Joshua Jackson) in to help.

When Olivia's investigation leads to multi-billion dollar corporation Massive Dynamic and its manipulative corporate executive, Nina Sharp (Blair Brown), our unlikely trio, along with Department of Homeland Security Agent Phillip Boyles (Lance Reddick) and FBI Agents Charlie Francis (Kirk Acevedo) and Astrid Farnsworth (Jasika Nicole), will discover that what happened on Flight 627 is only a small piece of a larger, more shocking truth.

The lead character, Olivia, is played by a chick who could be Cate Blanchett's younger sister, and also resembles Jennifer Garner enough to make me think I am watching a slightly less complicated Alias. Other than that, she didn't make a huge impression. But of course it's good to see my man Pacey, er Joshua Jackson, again.

Pacey, I missed you! How is it you look exactly the same now as you did 10 years ago?

A big surprise for me was seeing John Noble playing Pacey's crazy father (you might remember him from The Lord of the Rings when he played an, um, crazy father). Noble lends a certain gravitas to the cast, and a touch of whimsy. He made my laugh when he noted that Spongebob Squarepants was "surprisingly profound for a narrative about a sponge." And since he's playing a guy who has been locked up in an asylum for 17 years, I'm willing to buy that he has certain eccentricities.

The pilot episode ended with a big twist, which I won't ruin here, but I will definitely be making this one a keeper. I have a feeling that the show will only improve when it settles into it's normal formula, where the team investigates/solves cases involving various aspects of "fringe" science.

Did I mention that there's a cow? Her name is Jean.

Sunday, September 07, 2008


If read this blog, you know I love David Duchovny. As in, loooooove David Duchovny. The X-Files was my first fandom and David Duchovny was pretty much my first celebrity crush. Also, please bear in mind that I was 13 when the show started. The perfect age for crushing.

So I approached Californication with trepidation. My impression of the show from hearing people talk about it/read about it was that DD played a character whose sole purpose was sleeping around with other women. While the prospect of seeing DD naked was appealing, the show sounded like it might be light on plot. Also, I was concerned that DD could not play a character other than Mulder, I mean I love him, but that mumbly swagger thing seemed to be his schtick.

Yeah, I was pretty much wrong.

While DD does the mumble and swagger thing, Hank is definitely a new and distinct character. He's more unhinged, loopy, and mercurial than Mulder.

The central conceit of the show is that Hank is a brilliant novelist (in the vein of Chuck Palahniuk and Kurt Vonnegut) but since his ex-wife, though technically they never married, and mother of his daughter, Becca, left him, he has not been able to write. But he has been able to have sex with many random women. But he's not a misogynist or anything, in fact, usually the women seduce him. And let's be honest, it's DD, who wouldn't want to hit that? (And yes, I know he is now in rehab for sex addiction, how bummed am I that I didn't meet him the day before he sought treatment??) Despite all these random hook-ups, Hank's goal is getting back his ex-gf, who is now engaged to be married to another man.

For me, the best part of the show is Hank's interaction with his 12 year old daughter. She's smart, is lead singer of a rock band, and pretty much takes everything in stride. Oh, and she doesn't like it when people touch her hair. Yeah, she knows her Dad is fucked up, but she loves him anyway. And that's life, you know?

There are, of course, a myriad of other wacky supporting characters, including Hank's best friend and agent played by Charlie Runkle (whom you will recognize from Sex and the City as Charlotte's Jewish husband), but Hank is the real star of the show. Frankly, the subplots involving the other characters are kinda boring.

And while the show is often very very funny, I would not say it's a comedy. Television has really embraced shows that fall into the dramedy category lately (like Weeds, and the originator of the genre, Ally McBeal), and this show for me is firmly entrenched in that tradition. Californication is capable of portraying strong human emotions when it comes to love and sex, and it all feels very genuine. All in all, I really liked it, more than I was expecting, and I eagerly look forward to the second season, which I believe is starting very soon. Too bad I don't have Showtime. *sigh*

Favorite quote from the season 1 finale "The Last Waltz"

Hank: "Becca got her period."
Ex-wife: "What!? She did!"
Hank: "Makes perfect sense it would happen on my watch, doesn't it?"
Ex-wife: Oh my God! How is she? What did you do?"
Hank (very proud of himself): "What do you think I did? I handled the fuck out of that shit."

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

90210h, please don't hate me, but I loved this show.

Man, was I wrong. It wasn't until the day before yesterday that I even decided to WATCH the new 90210. I didn't really enjoy the first incarnation of the show (watched a few seasons back in the day during middle school, but could not get past the spandex), and I went into it ready to hate it. I wanted to mock the car wreck. To laugh at the terrible acting.

But you guys I kind of loved it.

I mean, not like the way I love Jon Stewart or Heroes or Lost or Doctor Who. But I love it the way I love America's Next Top Model. You know, the trashy, guilty pleasure type of love.

I should have known this was not going to be the crap-fest I expected when I saw that Rob Thomas was listed in the credits (oh, he who created Veronica Mars and owns my soul). I remember hearing months ago that he was working on the pilot script, but when he left, I figured that meant nothing could save this show.

But I was wrong.

I mean, it's not high art, but for pure escapism, I loved it. The little nods to the original show (there's a girl named Hannah Zuckerman! And they joke about how she's 30! HAHAHAHA. Meh.) were kinda lame, but I was surprised by how cool it was to see The Peach Pit and Kelly and Brenda again. All the characters were fleshed out and felt real, even the typical high school archetypes. The corn-fed country girl is actually kinda ballsy and awesome, the "mean" girl isn't a complete and total bitch, the jock might actually have a soul, etc. etc. It was surprising. And the alcoholic tell-it-like-it-is grandmother is made of awesome.

I also liked how the show didn't just concentrate on the young kids. I know CW is chasing that young demographic, but the adult characters had almost equal screentime , and had interesting stories of their own. I liked seeing how the Dad had to balance being a father and being the principal. Lori Loughlin has yet to do anything actually interesting, but she seems like a pretty cool Mom. And of course there is Mr. Matthews.

If my English teacher looked like this, I never would have skipped. Hellooooooo, nurse.

I'm just saying it's awfully nice of them to provide some eye candy for those of us who are not adolescents. At least not physically.

So, that's it, you guys. I'm hooked. Sigh. Why did CW have to go and actually make this show good?? Damn them.